Jeremy Heywood, the senior civil servant who wrote the report investigating UK involvement in Operation Blue Star, has died of lung cancer. The former cabinet secretary died aged 56.
Whilst serving former prime minister David Cameron, he was tasked with investigating the UK link to the 1984 Indian operation at Sri Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar after files from the Thatcher government, declassified in 2014, revealed that Britain had sent an SAS officer to India in February, ahead of Operation Blue Star, to “draw up a plan to remove Sikh extremists from the Temple”. This provoked uproar among the Sikh community who demanded an investigation.
His report, known as the Heywood Review and published in February 2014, found “no record of any assistance to the June 1984 operation called ‘Blue Star’ by the Indian government other than the limited military advice provided in mid-February”.
He wrote: “The UK government did send one military officer to provide military advice on Indian contingency plans for an operation at Sri Harmandir Sahib. This military advice was a one-off. It was not sustained. There was no other UK military assistance, such as training or equipment, given to the Indians with Operation Blue Star. There were significant differences between the actual June operation, and the advice from the UK military officer in February.”